Zvonko Karanović

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Zvonko Karanović (b. 1959) is a poet and fiction writer born in Niš, Serbia. Like the poets of the Beat generation he takes as his models, he has traveled widely throughout Europe, hitchhiking and often changing jobs. He has worked as a journalist, editor, radio host, DJ, concert organizer, and for thirteen years he was the owner of a music store. Today he lives in Belgrade where he set up a publishing house, PPM Enclave.

A writer of distinctly urban sensibilities, steeped in the spirit of riot and revolt, he has written some of the most significant politically engaged poetry critiquing the 90’s regime in Serbia. For many years he was an underground cult figure and a seminal influence on a whole generation of younger poets. He is the only Serbian poet with a fan club (“The Silver Surfer”) – founded in 1991. and operational until 2013.

His poems have been translated to sixteen languages and published in representative literary magazines in South-Eastern Europe, as well as numerous Serbian and international anthologies, including New European Poets from Graywolf Press (Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer, eds., 2008).

His trilogy The Diary of Deserters, comprised of the novels More Than Zero (2004), Four Walls and the City (2006), and Three Snapshots of Victory (2009), is the first such project in 21st-century Serbian literature. Taking place between April 1998 and October 5, 2000, the trilogy chronicles the lives of three young urban men who, fighting for their beliefs, attempt to live freely in an unfree land. His trilogy is dedicated to Serbia’s “lost generation” – those who, in the 90’s, either left the country, perished in the new Balkan wars, or suffered social marginalization due to their cosmopolitan worldview. All three novels received great attention.

He received several Serbian literary awards for poetry and international fellowships for writers such as “Heinrich Bell Foundation” fellowship, Cologne, Germany, 2011. He has performed at numerous literature festivals in Europe.

Collections of poetry:

Blitzkrieg (1990)

Silver Surfer (1991)

Mama Melancholy (1996)

Extravaganza (1997)

Dark Highway (2001)

Taking Off (2004)

Sleepwalkers on a Picnic (prose poems) (2012)

Cages (prose poems) (2013)

The Golden Age (2015)

Behind the Burning Forest (2018)


Selected poems:

Neon dogs – Selected Poems (2001)

Box set – Selected Poems (2009)

The Best Years of Our Lives – Selected Poems (2014)



 More Than Zero (2004)

Four Walls and the City (2006)

Three Snapshots of Victory (2009)


Poetry published abroad:

 Dark Highway – Selected Poems (Zagreb, Croatia, 2008)

Drums and Strings, the Highway and the Night – Selected Poems (Lviv, Ukraine, 2011)

Burn, Baby, Burn – Selected Poems (Klagenfurt, Austria, 2013)

Cinderella in Chrome Casket – Selected Poems (Skopje, Macedonia, 2014)

It Was Easy to Set the Snow On Fire – Selected Poems (Los Angeles, USA, 2017)

The Best Years of Our Lives – Selected Poems (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2017)

The Best Years of Our Lives – Selected Poems (Palestina 2018)


Novels published abroad:

Čotiri stіni і mіsto (FAKT, Kijev, Ukrajina, 2009)

Tri kartini peremogi (Komora, Kijev, Ukrajina, 2016)



 Laza Kostić Award for Sleepwalkers on a Picnic (prose poems) (2012), 2013

Biljana Jovanovic Award for Cages (prose poems) (2013), 2014

Kocic’s Quill Award for The Best Years of Our Lives – Selected Poems (2014), 2014

Kocic’s Book for the entire body of work, 2014

Dušan Vasiljev Award for The Golden Age (2015), 2016

Ramond Serbica Award for the entire body of work and contribution to Serbian literature and culture, 2018



Heinrich Bell Foundation – international fellowships for writers, Cologne, Germany, mart/april, 2011.

Traduki – European network for literature and books fellowship, Split, Croatia, May 2012.

Traduki fellowship, Skopje, Macedonia, May 2016.

PEN residence for writres, Zagreb, Croatia, September, 2019.


(Prominent) Festivals:

Festival of Poetry VOIX VIVES, Sete, France, 2015;

International Poetry Festival Genova, Italy, 2016,

Poeteka Dada Fest, Tirana, Albania, 2016.

Pordenonelegge, Pordenone, Italy, 2017.

VOIX VIVES, Palestine edition, Ramallah, Palestine, 2017.

Struga Poetry Evenings, Struga, North Macedonia, 2019.

Vilenica International Literary Festival, Vilenica, Slovenia, 2019.



Useful links:




3 AM Magazine


World Literature Today article


World Literature Today selection


ACTION YES Online Quarterly